Brett Mitchell

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A member of the Sarasota Music Festival faculty since 2017

Hailed for delivering compelling performances of innovative, eclectic programs, Brett Mitchell has been named the fourth Music Director of the Colorado Symphony, beginning in the 2017-18 season. Prior to this four-year appointment, he will serve as Music Director Designate during the 2016-17 season. 

Mr. Mitchell is also currently the Associate Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra. He joined the orchestra as Assistant Conductor in 2013, and was promoted to his current position in 2015, becoming the orchestra's first Associate Conductor in over three decades and only the fifth in its 98-year history. In this role, he leads the orchestra in several dozen concerts each season at Severance Hall, Blossom Music Center, and on tour. Mr. Mitchell also serves as the Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, which he led on a four-city tour of China in 2015, marking the ensemble's second international tour and its first to Asia.

In addition to these titled positions, Brett Mitchell is in consistent demand as a guest conductor. Recent and upcoming guest engagements include the orchestras of Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Oregon, Rochester, Saint Paul, and Washington (National Symphony Orchestra), among others. He has collaborated with such soloists as Rudolf Buchbinder, James Ehnes, Leila Josefowicz, and Alisa Weilerstein, and has served as cover conductor at The Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.

From 2007 to 2011, Brett Mitchell led over one hundred performances as Assistant Conductor of the Houston Symphony, to which he frequently returns as a guest conductor. He also held Assistant Conductor posts with the Orchestre National de France, where he worked under Kurt Masur from 2006 to 2009, and the Castleton Festival, where he worked under Lorin Maazel in 2009 and 2010. In 2015, Mr. Mitchell completed a highly successful five-year tenure as Music Director of the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra, where an increased focus on locally relevant programming and community collaborations resulted in record attendance throughout his tenure.

As an opera conductor, Brett Mitchell has served as music director of nearly a dozen productions, principally at his former post as Music Director of the Moores Opera Center in Houston, where he led eight productions from 2010 to 2013. His repertoire spans the core works of Mozart (The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute), Verdi (Rigoletto and Falstaff), and Stravinsky (The Rake's Progress) to contemporary works by Adamo (Little Women), Aldridge (Elmer Gantry), Catán (Il Postino and Salsipuedes), and Hagen (Amelia). As a ballet conductor, Mr. Mitchell will next lead a production of The Nutcracker with the Pennsylvania Ballet in collaboration with The Cleveland Orchestra during the 2016-17 season.

Born in Seattle in 1979, Brett Mitchell holds degrees in conducting from the University of Texas at Austin and composition from Western Washington University, which selected him in as its Young Alumnus of the Year in 2014. He also studied at the National Conducting Institute, and was selected by Kurt Masur as a recipient of the inaugural American Friends of the Mendelssohn Foundation Scholarship. Mr. Mitchell was also one of five recipients of the League of American Orchestras' American Conducting Fellowship from 2007 to 2010.